How Starting the Car Feels Like On Most Days

When I step on the brake and press on that damn car switch my anxiety kicks in
When I step on the brake I pray to God
God I hope the battery won’t die this time
Oh well it died again let’s call Grab and hope the driver can help me jump start my car
I had to jump start my car four times this year
Because I didn’t start my car on time
Also the other day I passed my keys to the agent to help me start the car when I went back home for Raya but she forgot to start the car

“Why don’t you drive, Nurul?”

Breathe, breathe
You can do this
You don’t have to drive, Nurul, just start the car

You see, the thought of driving gives me anxiety
Every time I get behind the wheel
Somebody would turn the amplifier volume to the maximum and these voices in my head would narrate the worst-case scenarios

What if you hit the neighbour’s car
What if you get into an accident?
Who should you call first?
Anyone you can rely on in Penang?

“Why don’t you start driving, Nurul?”

I turn the radio louder but I can’t drown out the voice in my head

You can’t drive
You gonna knock something down today
You gonna hit the car when you park
Someone’s gonna laugh at you

“Driving is easy”

I’m gasping for air
My mind is muddled
I read about mindfulness once and the writer said I should focus on my breathing
One minute
Two minutes
I’m calmer now
Okay, I can do this

I stepped on the brake
Then turned off the engine
And I went back to my room because nope nope nope today I wouldn’t drive the car

There must be a Pulitzer material in my drafts here somewhere...
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